The mysterious duo giving nostalgia a makeover with their take on '80s pop, sits down with MP for a proper introduction.
MP: Who is RomCom?
RC: It's just the two of us, my husband and I. We live in Tokyo (Shibuya at the moment), but we're from California. We make music in our super tiny apartment and we do everything together, although my husband does most of the playing and production because he's been doing that a lot longer. We like to write melodies that we can naturally sing together--how our two voices interact and feel when they are combined is really important to us.
MP: How long have you been musicians?
RC: We've been playing music in various arrangements, on and off, since we were in high school, but we've never made music together.
MP: Where do you currently record your music?
RC: In our tiny apartment with a few keyboards, a guitar, a computer and a mic. We'd like to go into a real studio some day, but this works well for the moment!
MP: How did you end up in Tokyo and what's your day to day life like out there?
RC: We've always been obsessed with Japanese culture since we were kids and we've visited Tokyo several times over the years and just fell in love with it. Then one day it just hit us- why aren't we living here!? So we moved. Its been an amazing experience. On most days, when we're not working on music in our tiny apartment, we are venturing around the city finding new, delicious food or coffee spots or bars… different neighborhoods or parks and shrines. There's so much to explore in Tokyo, and it's such a dense city you could totally miss the best place even if you walk by it every day, because it's tucked in the back of building, or in the basement or something. There are a couple ultra-tiny bars that we love (they hold like 4 people) where we practice speaking Japanese with the locals.
MP: How's the music scene in your part of Tokyo? Any artists we should be aware of out there?
RC: Really awesome and weird... there's every kind of music, and lots of weird combinations of genres that you don't hear in the west. Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) is an older band that is really great. We love a lot of newer J-Pop stuff too actually. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Perfume are a couple favorites. Aesthetically, their videos and art and everything are insane.
MP: What genres/musicians have influenced RomCom's style?
RC: I think we both romanticize the music and movies of the 80s-- and that time period in general. There's something carefree about the films from that time, which makes them kind of raw and ramshackle and idiosyncratic. That has always been influential for us. There are endless bands that we love from that time too, obviously. We're pretty immersed in all kinds of genres, actually. I think with RomCom we're trying to be somewhere in the middle of New Order and Janet Jackson.
It's actually kind of crazy listening to today's pop or indie stuff, because it all sounds so big and glossy. You listen to new wave or pop songs from the 80s and they feel a lot more raw, almost cheaper, by comparison. There's something really charming about it. I think we like that cheapness, that raw feeling of something being closer to what it sounded like during it's moment of inception. Hopefully we can capture that feeling in our music.
MP: Favorite and least favorite Romantic Comedy?
RC: Favorite: Valley Girl, 1983. My husband loves Modern Love (1981). Modern Love isn't really a traditional RomCom though… kind of the anti RomCom.
Least Favorite: Blended. Also, most RomComs after 1999. (actually, my husband is saying now he likes Blended)
MP: What's something we might not know about your single, "Fast Forward Rewind"?
RC: The sample at the end is taken from an old television commercial for a slice of life anime romcom from the 90s called ”海がきこえる”
MP: What does the future of RomCom look like, and when can we expect more music?
RC: We're working on our first album now and we'll be releasing songs and videos along the way. We have no idea what the future holds, we just want to make music without thinking too much about it and put it out naturally. Hopefully some people find out about us and enjoy our songs along the way!